Our schools need to be centres of excellence - MEC

2015-02-04 21:08

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Pretoria - Failure to provide uniform quality education across Gauteng is causing fatalities as students shun township schools, provincial Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Wednesday.

"There is no way children have to wake up at 04:00 [to travel] because the school next door cannot provide quality education," Lesufi told reporters at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.

"There is no way children have to lose their lives because those that are paid to teach are not teaching. If we can't change that, we will visit hospitals and mortuaries every day."

Four pupils were recuperating at the hospital after being involved in an accident in which two children and a taxi driver were killed on Tuesday morning.

Their minibus taxi struck the pillar of a bridge and overturned on the R101 near Pyramid, Pretoria, on Tuesday morning.

The pupils were being ferried from Hammanskraal, north of central Pretoria.

The Star reported on Wednesday that the minibus was pushed off the road by the driver of a turquoise Land Rover.

At least 17 pupils were injured. One was reportedly in a "very critical" condition.

The Gauteng education department said the two pupils who died were from Hoërskool Langenhoven and Hoërskool Staatspresident CR Swart. Both are about 40km from Hammanskraal.

Lesufi said pupils were shunning township schools and attending schools in affluent areas.

"If there is quality education where the children stay, would they need transport? No. We need to fix the problem. The problem is to ensure that the teacher that must teach is teaching," he said.

"We need to fix so that our schools can be centres of excellence, not centres where people are running away from.

"Officials that must monitor whether the schools are functional must do that. In the absence of that, we won't know. We will only know when we have to come and tell the children to get well," said Lesufi.

"These children must be in class, they are not supposed to be here. They are here purely because someone somewhere didn't perform their functions and we need to know who that person is and we deal with the situation."

Lesufi said he was going to meet the parents of the children killed. He was scheduled to meet Hammanskraal residents and hear why their children were not going to local schools.

"Our failure to provide quality education where the children stay has led to this situation. It is a situation where other children had to sacrifice their lives in order to get that quality education," said Lesufi.

He said the education system across the province needed to be improved.

"I want to assure parents that it will change. Those not prepared to work in our schools, unfortunately there will be friction. We have to manage that friction."

Lesufi went around the hospital with a team of medical personnel led by chief executive Dr Ernest Kenoshi.

Kenoshi said all the four pupils, three girls and a boy, had broken limbs.

"One of them has two broken thigh bones. The other two have broken upper arms. The young man also has a head injury, a fracture of the skull.

"Our orthopaedic surgeons and neuro-surgeons are taking care of them," said Kenoshi.

Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  johannesburg  |  education

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